By Prudence Minayo
Smart Joker is a Kenyan comedian and singer who debuted on the Churchill show in 2013. In his performances, he dresses like a clown with his signature cap, protruding eyes as he delivers his punchlines in a heavy Luhya accent. The funnyman refers to himself as the sweet joking smart joker from Kibera with a baby face.
The comedian’s real name is Michael Akala Omuka.
He got the name Smart Joker while in high school. There was a group called ‘Kumnyamnyam’ squad which used to tell him that his jokes are funny and his presentations smart and so he started calling himself Smart Joker.
Smart joker holds a certificate in Broadcast Journalism from the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication. Fellow comedians led by Churchill (Daniel Ndambuki) congratulated him on his success when he graduated. The graduate tweeted the following:
“Saaasaaa, lawyer wa team mafisi amegraduate officially kutoka analogue ameenda digital,” he wrote on Twitter.
The witty comedian is a happily married man to Mercy Warima Kagiri and a father of two lovely kids, Keziah Mwendwa Akala and Emanuella Khalumba Akala. He obviously prefers to keep them out of the limelight. In an exclusive interview published by mpasho on 1st December 2017 the comedian says the following about his family:
“Mimi sina girlfriend Mimi nimeoa. Na venye nimeoa, familia yangu ni kama figo yangu. Siwezi expose figo yangu. So familia yangu iko kwa nyumba. Haya mambo ya Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube. Those are just mambo na social media.” ( I do not have a girlfriend I am married. And since am married my family is like my kidney. I cannot expose my kidney. Therefore, my family is in the house. Things to do with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube… are just social media.
The father of two is from Western Kenya but lived in Kibera, Nairobi for a while. The comedian had a way of making people laugh even at a young age.
Smart joker did menial jobs, such as working in construction sites and unblocking sewage lines to survive. While doing a traditional dance at a Kibera based NGO called Shinning Hope For Communities (SHOFCO), a fellow comedian called Nick D (Nicodemus Odhiambo) impressed on him to give it a try at Churchill show auditions at the Carnivore grounds.
During that time, the funnyman was not even into comedy shows. In fact, he only knew of Eric Omondi since other people would talk of him. Nevertheless, they went for the auditions and were both accepted. This was the start of his journey to fame.
The ever jovial man started performing on Churchill show only a few days after auditions, something he never imagined would happen. The crowd adored him and his imaginary friend “Shimonjero.” He would tell funny tales that kept the crowd in stitches. During his third performance, he was teaching the friend how to move from analog to digital. He even went further to release a song on the same and received endorsements from CCCK for the analog to digital migration. The comedian has worked in Churchill show since then only taking breaks once in a while.
The major challenge is performing a joke only for the crowd not to appreciate it. In an interview with Milele FM, he recounts an incident he was called to perform at a gig where he was paid kes95,000 and people didn’t find his act funny. However, he says it was not because he wasn’t funny but that the people were drunk.